New York State Health Foundation

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Building Healthy Communities

Building Healthy Communities

A key priority for the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) is to create healthy communities that lead to more New Yorkers of all ages eating healthy foods, being physically active, and having access to a range of programs that encourage healthy life choices.

Where we live affects our health in multiple and complex ways. In neighborhoods with easy access to nutritious, affordable food; safe and walkable streets; and active playgrounds and public spaces, residents are more likely to have good health outcomes. Residents of neighborhoods without these essentials are more likely to be burdened with high rates of obesity, diabetes, or other chronic illnesses.

To help tackle some of the underlying problems that affect the health of communities, NYSHealth is focused on two key strategies to improve health in New York neighborhoods:

1. Supporting neighborhood-level and policy interventions to increase residents’ access to healthy, affordable food options; opportunities for physical activity; and other initiatives that encourage healthy living. Initially, the Foundation is working in six communities through the Healthy Neighborhoods Fund initiative, launched in January 2015.

2. Increasing demand and attracting sustainable financing for lifestyle behavior programs. Two examples are the National Diabetes Prevention Program and the Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) program, which help participants build skills and develop behaviors to maintain a healthy weight and lead a healthy lifestyle. 

The Foundation’s current focus on Building Healthy Communities emerged from earlier efforts to improve the clinical management of diabetes and to prevent diabetes among those New Yorkers at highest risk for developing the disease. With 60% of New Yorkers (8.7 million people) overweight or obese, and a growing body of research showing the impact our neighborhoods have on our health, we recognized a need to shift our approach. Our focus now extends beyond those at highest risk of developing diabetes and emphasizes community-level interventions that make it easier for all residents to lead active, healthy lives.

NYSHealth's Sponsoring Conference Participation in Support of Healthy Communities Request for Proposals (RFP) is now available.

Measuring Our Impact

We are currently developing program indicators to help us to track the Foundation’s and our grantees’ progress in our work to build healthy communities. The social indicators are also under development and will help us to understand and track the context of our work, and help us keep the bigger picture in mind when we consider new grant proposals.

View Program Impact View Social Impact
Program Impact: Building Healthy Communities
What we are doing How we measure progress Where we started Where we have been Where we are now What this
means

Increase opportunities for physical activity in communities across New York State through structural changes. 

Number of people reached by improvements in the built environment supported by NYSHealth and its partner foundations will increase by X% by 2020.

[2015 baseline to come early 2016]

Increase access to healthy, affordable food options in communities across New York State through structural changes. 

Number of people reached by improvements in access to healthy, affordable food options supported by NYSHealth and its partner foundations will increase by X% by 2020.

[2015 baseline to come early 2016]

Increase access to physical activity and healthy, affordable food options in communities across New York State through policy changes. 

By the end of 2017, three new public policies are implemented at the regional or state level to advance healthy eating and/or physical activity. 

Scale up and secure sustainable financing for lifestyle modification programs in New York State (e.g., Diabetes Prevention Program). 

By the end of 2016, three more health plans in New York State will reimburse for lifestyle modification programs. 

Scale up and secure sustainable financing for lifestyle behavior modification in New York State (e.g., Diabetes Prevention Program). 

20% of New Yorkers with prediabetes have access to a lifestyle modification program and at least 100,000 New Yorkers with prediabetes have completed a lifestyle modification program by 2020.

Social Context: Building Healthy Communities
How we Measure the Social Context for our Work Where New York Started Where New York Has Been Where New York Is Now

Proportion of adults in New York State who meet federal guidelines for daily physical activity. 

2011: 51.5% of adults participated in 150 minutes or more of aerobic physical activity per week.                                                        

 

Rank among 50 states, with 1 being best: 27th

2013: 47.3% of adults participated in 150 minutes or more of aerobic physical activity per week.                                     

 

Rank among 50 states, with 1 being best: 39th

N/A

Proportion of adults who consume fruits and vegetables one or more times per day. 

2013: 65.6% of adults consumed fruit one or more times per day.                                       

 

Rank among 50 states, with 1 being best: 27th

2013: 65.6% of adults consumed fruit one or more times per day.                                       

 

Rank among 50 states, with 1 being best: 27th

N/A